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IBM Launches Industry's First Windows Powered Appliance Server for Web Hosting

Collaborative Effort with Microsoft Marks Debut of IBM's Netfinity A-Series Appliance Family

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C - 29 Mar 2000: -- IBM and Microsoft today announced a new Internet appliance utilizing an operating system based on Windows 2000 technologies for Web hosting and serving. The IBM Netfinity A100 features Web accelerating software developed by IBM Research that leverages Windows 2000 to boost Web hosting performance 70 percent versus standard Web serving appliances.

The A100 is the first product in IBM's new A-Series family of appliance products, a line of pre-packaged, easy-to-use solution server appliances for enterprises, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Application Service Providers (ASPs).

The advances in integration, condensed design, and single purpose focus give Netfinity A100 customers an affordable way to achieve "unpacking-to-Web-hosting" operation - within just a few minutes -- while reducing costs up to 30 percent. This is a significant reduction from the typical two-and-a-half hour installation process and cost associated with non-integrated solutions.

It is this ability of appliance servers to reduce cost and complexity normally associated with building an Internet infrastructure that causes industry analysts at International Data Corp. (IDC) to forecast the appliance server market will have reached $5.5 billion in revenue with close to one million appliances shipped by 2002.(1)

"Due to the dynamic and rapidly growing nature of our business, it is critical we have a Web hosting solution that delivers high performance, security, and reliability at very competitive prices," says David Melnick, Chief Technologist Entertainment Media Services INC., a private label ASP, whose clients include Warner Brothers Studio Stores, Rhino Entertainment and Bank of America Merchant Services. "Early on IBM and Microsoft approached us to define the key elements of the Web Hosting Appliance. This is why we are so excited about the announcement today. The Netfinity A100 Web Serving Appliance demonstrates a significant effort to realize those key elements."

"At less than two inches tall and in proportion to the average pizza box, the A100 is specially designed to fit into the racks used by ISPs and, increasingly many large enterprises," states John Callies, VP of Marketing for Netfinity. "With the customer installation process reduced to little more than plugging in the box and flipping the power switch, the customer's time-to-money is almost immediate."

Joint Development Brings Tuned Design

IBM and Microsoft's joint development of the Windows 2000 technologies complements the one unit rack-optimized IBM Netfinity A-series in delivering high levels of price performance in the appliance arena.

The companies have been working together to tune and optimize the solution for maximum performance. Working at customer sites, Microsoft and IBM engineers analyzed the performance and load characteristics to identify the optimal hardware and software design. As organizations increase the dynamic and Active Server Page content of their sites, the engineering changes by Microsoft and IBM ensure that Netfinity A100 customers realize immediate performance benefits. This joint development ensures customers an integrated design optimized to meet the necessary requirements for premium Web hosting.

"Microsoft is excited to be working with IBM on solutions to meet the needs and expectations of customers who demand the highest levels of reliability and performance from their Web sites," said Bill Veghte, vice president of Embedded and Appliance Platform Group, Microsoft Corp. "The combination of IBM's Netfinity A-Series Web Appliance and Windows 2000 technologies delivers a fast and easy to set-up solution for ISPs and enterprises."

The rack-optimized Netfinity A100 is offered in three models, ranging from the entry-level model to a high-end, dual processor mirrored storage solution. The appliance is a cost-effective purchase, providing a complete solution starting at under $6,000.

Accelerating Web Performance

The Netfinity A100 is prepackaged with the Netfinity Web Server Accelerator Version 2.0 (NWSA) for faster delivery of Web content. NWSA is a Web accelerator that leverages the Windows 2000 kernel to boost Web-hosting performance by storing frequently accessed information, such as the home page and product photos. This frees up the Web server for more critical transaction data, like consumer credit card and shipping information.

Based on Windows 2000 Technologies

Microsoft has utilized technology from Windows 2000 to create the software platform for these Web appliances. Delivering best of breed technologies, such as Internet Information Server 5.0 and Network Load Balancing, Web servers powered by Windows like IBM's Netfinity A100 offer customers high performing, reliable, and scalable solutions. Microsoft and IBM worked closely fine tuning and testing the software and hardware to deliver the quick set-up and easy administration of an appliance to IBM's customers.

For more information about IBM Netfinity servers and products, please visit http://www.ibm.com/servers/netfinity.

For more information about Microsoft's embedded operating system offerings, please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/embedded.

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(1) "Solutions in a Box: Appliance Servers Shake up the Server Community" IDC Bulletin, March 2000; Boston.

Contact(s) information

John Simonds
IBM
(919) 254-9732
jsimonds@us.ibm.com

Rob Houston
Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft
(503) 443-7000
robh@wagged.com